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Carta de Rommel a su esposa del 16 de noviembre de 1942

Carta de Rommel a su esposa del 16 de noviembre de 1942


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Estoy buscando la versión original en alemán de la carta de Erwin Rommel a su esposa Lucie Rommel del 16 de noviembre de 1942. Puede encontrar la traducción al inglés en la página 354 de "The Rommel Papers". La traducción al inglés comienza así:

Querida Lu, Otro buen paso atrás. Para colmo, ahora está lloviendo, lo que hace que sea aún más difícil moverse. ¡Escasez de gasolina! Basta para hacer llorar. Esperemos que los británicos estén teniendo el mismo mal tiempo ...

Quiero encontrar estas dos frases en las palabras originales de Rommel: "¡Escasez de gasolina! Es suficiente para hacer llorar". Google translate presenta:

Mangel an Benzin! Es ist genug, um einen zum Weinen bringen.

Mi alemán está bien, y lo anterior me parece una traducción bastante buena, pero ¿alguien tiene el original?

El lunes daré una conferencia pública sobre el suministro de energía primaria en todo el mundo. Estoy usando la cita como evidencia de la importancia del petróleo en la guerra. El libro se publicó por primera vez en 1953; el editor y el traductor trabajaron directamente con el hijo de Rommel, Manfred, quien había recopilado y organizado los documentos. Por tanto, no se consultaron archivos per se. Por lo que he visto, no hay una nota en el libro que indique lo que se hizo con los originales después de que se escribió el libro.


"¡Benzinmangel! Es ist genug, um zu weinen".

Esto es lo que está escrito en el libro. Mi abuelo tiene este libro en alemán que le regaló un amigo suyo. Revisé el libro tan pronto como vi esta pregunta. No sé con certeza si este era su texto original, pero como es alemán y coincide exactamente con lo que solicitó el traductor de Google, creo que es auténtico.


Erwin Rommel

Mariscal de campo Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel, El "Zorro del Desierto" [1] (15 de noviembre de 1891 - 14 de octubre de 1944), fue un oficial del ejército alemán en la Primera Guerra Mundial y la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

  • Primera batalla del Argonne - (1915)
  • Ofensiva de los Cárpatos (1915)
  • Batalla de Caporetto (1917)
  • Caída de Francia
    • Batalla de Arras (1940)
    • Asedio de Tobruk (1941)
    • Operación Crusader (1941)
    • Batalla de Gazala (1942)
    • Batalla de Bir Hakeim (1942)
    • Primera batalla de El Alamein (1942)
    • Batalla de Alam Halfa (1942)
    • Segunda batalla de El Alamein (1942)
    • Batalla de Medenine (1943)
    • Batalla del paso de Kasserine (1943)

    En la Segunda Guerra Mundial, comandó el ejército alemán en el norte de África en una larga lucha contra el 8º ejército británico. Finalmente fue derrotado en El Alamein. Más adelante en la guerra, comandó las fuerzas alemanas que defendían la costa francesa contra la invasión aliada de Normandía.

    Rommel era muy querido por el público alemán y respetado por los aliados. Se pensaba que era caballeroso y humano, cuando otros líderes alemanes no lo eran. Su famoso Afrikakorps no fue acusado de ningún crimen de guerra. Los soldados capturados por su ejército fueron tratados bien y se ignoraron las órdenes de matar a los soldados judíos capturados y a los civiles. [2]

    Rommel conocía el plan de los oficiales superiores para asesinar a Hitler en 1944. Cuando fracasó, todos los involucrados fueron torturados y ejecutados. Hitler le ofreció la opción de suicidarse o consejo de guerra, y se suicidó. Su muerte fue anunciada como la muerte de un héroe en batalla.


    Rommel y Afrika Korps # 8217

    NO HAY MÁS FRASE EVOCATIVA para emerger de la Segunda Guerra Mundial que & # 8220Afrika Korps. & # 8221 El nombre evoca un teatro de guerra único, un barrio vacío inquietantemente hermoso donde los ejércitos podrían vagar libremente, liberados de pueblos y colinas, cuellos de botella y posiciones de bloqueo, y especialmente esos molestos civiles. Convoca una guerra de movilidad casi absoluta, donde los tanques podrían operar como barcos en el mar, & # 8220sailing & # 8221 donde quisieran, emprendiendo viajes audaces cientos de millas en el profundo desierto, luego dando vueltas alrededor del flanco enemigo y emergiendo. como los piratas de antaño para asestar golpes devastadores a un enemigo desprevenido. Finalmente, implica a un héroe intrépido, en este caso el mariscal de campo Erwin Rommel, un noble comandante que luchó la buena batalla, que odiaba a Adolf Hitler y todo lo que él representaba, y que no podría haber estado más lejos de nuestro estereotipo de fanático nazi. . Todo lo relacionado con el Zorro del desierto nos atrae: las poses varoniles, la buena apariencia del casting fuera del centro, incluso las gafas encaramadas. Colocar a Rommel y su élite Afrika Korps en primer plano nos permite ver la guerra del desierto como una lucha limpia contra un oponente moralmente digno. Fue una guerra, sí, pero casi exclusivamente en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, fue una & # 8220 guerra sin odio & # 8221, como la llamó Rommel en sus memorias.

    Es una imagen atractiva por todas partes. Desafortunadamente, prácticamente todo es una invención. El desierto no era un refugio de belleza o romance. La lucha fue una pesadilla para ambos bandos. Lejos de dejar vagar libres a las respectivas flotas de tanques, el desierto los encadenó irresistiblemente a sus líneas de suministro, y un solo convoy fallido o una columna de camiones perdida podría detener toda una ofensiva en seco. Contrariamente a la movilidad soñada de la guerra en el desierto, ambos bandos pasarían mucho más tiempo en posiciones defensivas estáticas, a menudo bastante elaboradas, de lo que pasarían lanzando cargas de tanques.

    Eso nos deja con Rommel. Aquí también deberíamos desafiar la mitología. No fue apolítico. Su carrera se había basado únicamente en el favor de Hitler, y podríamos describir razonablemente su actitud hacia el führer como de adoración. Era el chico rubio de Hitler, un joven oficial ascendido repetidamente por encima de candidatos de mayor rango. También fue una creación mediática. La propaganda nazi lo pintó como un héroe del campo de batalla y un modelo nacionalsocialista y ario, un hombre que podía vencer a enemigos más fuertes a través de la pura fuerza de voluntad. Y no era un espectador pasivo de la publicidad, era un cómplice activo. (Ver & # 8220Rommel & # 8217s Better Side, & # 8221 a continuación.) Nada le gustaba más que tener un equipo de cámara junto a él en la campaña, y regularmente ordenaba que se volvieran a filmar escenas si su postura no era lo suficientemente heroica o la la iluminación no le había mostrado la mejor ventaja. Como suele ocurrir con las figuras públicas, su relación con los medios de comunicación fue tanto egoísta como autodestructiva. Durante los años de la victoria, la maquinaria de propaganda alemana lo utilizó como ejemplo para la nación. Cuando las cosas se pusieron feas, se convirtió en una distracción de las cada vez más malas noticias en otros frentes. Cuando ya no fue útil, el régimen lo dejó en un segundo plano durante gran parte de 1943 y luego, después de que estuvo débilmente vinculado al intento de asesinato de Hitler en julio de 1944, lo obligó a suicidarse.

    Sí, el lector podría responder, pero seguramente estamos en un terreno más firme con respecto a su habilidad militar. Después de todo, nada menos que una figura que el primer ministro británico Winston Churchill lo llamó & # 8220 un gran general & # 8221 en el piso de la Cámara de los Comunes. Las atrevidas hazañas de Rommel al frente del Afrika Korps (más tarde ampliado y rebautizado como Panzerarmee Afrika) fueron emocionantes, sin duda, pero muchos oficiales de su propio ejército las consideraron un espectáculo secundario sin valor en última instancia. Su desinterés por la ciencia lúgubre de la logística, su amor por la acción, su tendencia a volar a donde sea que la pelea sea más candente, todas estas cualidades hacen que una película sea emocionante. Sin embargo, son problemas para un comandante en las condiciones modernas, y todos contribuyeron materialmente al desastre que finalmente le sobrevino a él y a su ejército en el desierto.

    Con estos pensamientos en mente, hagamos un breve recorrido operativo por el Afrika Korps en guerra. El punto no es aplastar a ningún ídolo en particular, sino restaurar un poco de equilibrio en una discusión que lo necesita con urgencia.

    CUANDO ROMMEL LLEGÓ a África, trajo consigo un arte de la guerra plenamente realizado. Él & # 8217d ganó un Pour le Mérite (el famoso Blue Max) por una serie de hazañas de montaña en la campaña de Caporetto de 1917, entre ellas la demolición de fuerzas italianas muchas veces más grandes que las suyas en la batalla de Mt. Matajur. había sido un instructor táctico muy popular en la Escuela de Infantería de Dresde entre las guerras. Había comandado una de las preciosas divisiones blindadas del ejército (la séptima) durante la invasión de Francia y los Países Bajos en 1940. En Francia, Rommel se había comportado más como un húsar del siglo XVIII liberado en una misión de asalto que como un comandante de división. Lideraba desde el frente, desafiaba el fuego enemigo y apagaba su radio de vez en cuando en lugar de arriesgarse a recibir órdenes de detenerse. Avanzó tan rápido que el 7º Panzer se hizo conocido como la & # 8220 división fantasma & # 8221 por su tendencia a dejar los mapas de situación y reaparecer donde menos se esperaba.

    Había muchos en el alto mando alemán, incluido el jefe del Estado Mayor, Franz Halder, que no apreciaba mucho que Rommel se volviera loco, pero como concluyó un historiador, era imposible hacer un consejo de guerra a un general tan exitoso. En cambio, Rommel obtuvo la Cruz de Hierro, y sería lo mismo en África.

    Rommel llegó a mediados de febrero de 1941 con órdenes bastante mundanas de actuar como esperma, o & # 8220blocker, & # 8221 para reforzar a los italianos después de haber sido atacados una semana antes por los británicos en Beda Fomm en Libia. Su fuerza era apropiadamente pequeña: el batallón de reconocimiento y un destacamento antitanque de la 5ª División Ligera (que pronto se rebautizó como 21ª División Panzer). El resto de la división todavía estaba en camino a África, y una segunda división, el 15º Panzer, no llegaría en su totalidad hasta finales de mayo.

    Rommel tenía sus órdenes, pero las había ignorado en el pasado y había sido condecorado por ello. Con las fuerzas británicas despojadas de África para librar una campaña extremadamente desacertada en Grecia, llevó a cabo un rápido reconocimiento personal en su confiable avión Fieseler Fi 156C Storch y luego lanzó una ofensiva con sus socios italianos. La División Blindada de Ariete y las divisiones de infantería del X Cuerpo (Bolonia y Pavía) se lanzaron hacia el este desde el centro de Libia a través de Cyrenaica (la región costera oriental de Libia), intentando llegar a la frontera egipcia de un salto. Penetró las defensas británicas en El Agheila el 24 de marzo, luego se dirigió a Mersa el Brega el 31 de marzo, deteniéndose solo para recibir (e ignorar) una serie de mensajes de radio de Berlín y Roma que le advertían que no hiciera nada precipitado. Finalmente, en Agedabia aplastó a los defensores británicos (elementos de la 2.a División Blindada verde, equipados parcialmente con tanques italianos capturados M13 / 40), inmovilizándolos al frente con la infantería de la 5.a División Ligera mientras enviaba sus panzers a dar un paseo por el campo abierto. flanco del desierto hacia el sur, el primer uso de una táctica que se convertiría en su firma.

    Estos tres pequeños encuentros, ninguno excediendo la fuerza del regimiento, fueron suficientes para trastornar toda la posición defensiva británica en Cirenaica. Rommel ahora expandió su reconocimiento en fuerza a una ofensiva general, aunque las fuerzas involucradas todavía eran minúsculas. Una columna se dirigió por la carretera de la costa hacia Bengasi, mientras que dos más atravesaron el abultamiento de Cirenaica, recogiendo una montaña de suministros británicos en Msus y Mechili. La retaguardia británica estaba sumida en el caos. El 6 de abril, una patrulla de motocicletas alemana capturó al comandante británico en Cyrenaica, el teniente general Philip Neame, así como al teniente general Richard O & # 8217Connor, el vencedor de Beda Fomm. Para el 11 de abril, los alemanes habían rodeado la fortaleza costera libia de Tobruk mientras formaciones más pequeñas avanzaban hacia el este, tomando Bardia y llegando a la frontera egipcia en Sollum y Ft. Capuzzo.

    Esta fue una maniobra de máxima velocidad, y las distancias eran enormes, con el Afrika Korps cubriendo más de 600 millas en menos de dos semanas. Una hazaña asombrosa, sin duda, pero ¿no podemos preguntar legítimamente, 600 millas hasta dónde? Por ahora, Rommel tenía una fortaleza invicta sentada en su retaguardia, una seria amenaza para sus líneas de comunicación y suministro. Dos intentos apresurados de asaltar Tobruk salieron muy mal. En la Batalla de Pascua (del 10 al 14 de abril) y la Batalla del Saliente (del 30 de abril al 4 de mayo), los defensores de la 9.ª División Australiana se mantuvieron firmes. Los campos de minas canalizaron los ataques alemanes, mientras que el fuego directo de la artillería, los cañones antitanques y los tanques de apoyo dispararon a fondo a las fuerzas de asalto y mataron al mayor general Heinrich von Prittwitz, comandante de la 15ª División Panzer.

    La sola presencia de un Tobruk invicto hizo que el viaje por el desierto fuera inútil. De hecho, a pesar de toda la fama que le había dado a Rommel en la prensa mundial, esta primera campaña le ganó pocos amigos entre los escalones de mando en Berlín. El general Halder estaba especialmente impresionado. Rommel, escribió, & # 8220 tormenta todo el día con formaciones esparcidas por todo el lugar & # 8221. El hombre aparentemente & # 8220 se había vuelto loco & # 8221. Y hubo algo de justicia en la denuncia. Una división alemana-plus había invadido un territorio —un vasto páramo, para ser precisos— pero en realidad no había ganado nada. No hubo batalla de aniquilación, ni kesselschlacht (batalla de cerco), ni podría haber habido. El Afrika Korps había recorrido un largo camino, pero ahora se encontraba precariamente al borde de la nada. Aunque Rommel y su comando habían mostrado un nivel satisfactorio de agresión, algo que todos en el cuerpo de oficiales entendían, la mayoría de ellos vieron su viaje hacia la frontera egipcia como un fallo de encendido.

    LAS OPERACIONES POSTERIORES merecen la misma mirada fría. Ambos bandos pasaron el verano reconstruyendo, reemplazando y reforzando, pero en general, los británicos lo hicieron más rápidamente. En noviembre de 1941, el Octavo Ejército británico, dirigido por el general Sir Alan Cunningham, lanzó la Operación Crusader, un intento de aliviar a Tobruk (aunque decir que el pequeño puerto estaba & # 8220 bajo asedio & # 8221 es otro ejemplo de creación de mitos en el desierto guerra). Crusader condujo a una dura lucha con grandes pérdidas en ambos lados. La descarada decisión de Rommel de romper el contacto y lanzar un 'impulso al cable' # 8221 en la frontera egipcia fue el momento clave de la campaña. El 24 de noviembre, consiguió todos los tanques que pudo encontrar y ordenó una incursión profunda en la retaguardia británica. En el transcurso de este viaje salvaje, sus panzers invadieron, en rápida sucesión, el cuartel general del XXX Cuerpo, la 7ª División Blindada, la 1ª División Sudafricana y la 7ª Brigada Blindada, desatando el pánico mientras avanzaba. Sin embargo, en última instancia, el impulso hacia el cable fue otro impulso hacia ninguna parte y tuvo poco impacto en la situación operativa. Los británicos no se derrumbaron como Rommel esperaba. Con su fuerza de tanques cerca de cero y su infantería (en gran parte italiana) diezmada, no tuvo más remedio que retirarse a donde había comenzado, El Agheila.

    A estas alturas, la dinámica de la guerra del desierto estaba bien establecida. Una lógica de hierro estaba en funcionamiento, y ninguno de los lados podía escapar de su control. Los grandes avances no solo lo alejaron de su cabeza de ferrocarril, sino que lo alejaron de zonas horarias completas. El suministro se convirtió no solo en un problema, sino en el problema. Rommel era mucho más peligroso en El Agheila, relativamente cerca de su base principal en Trípoli, que en el cable egipcio, 600 millas al este. Del mismo modo, las fuerzas aliadas nunca fueron más peligrosas que cuando luchaban con los recursos de sus bases en Egipto a sus espaldas, y nunca más indefensas que cuando acababan de invadir Cyrenaica hacia el oeste.

    No debería sorprender, entonces, que Rommel volviera pronto las tornas contra los Aliados una vez más. En enero de 1942, después de pasar unas pocas semanas reagrupando sus fuerzas después de su larga retirada, Rommel volvió a la ofensiva, esta vez en la secuencia operativa Gazala-Tobruk. Antes de que los Rommel's # 8217 atraviesen sus fuerzas a principios de 1941, los británicos habían despojado a ese frente de muchas unidades más experimentadas y las habían enviado al atolladero de los Balcanes, que terminó con la desastrosa pérdida de Grecia y Creta a manos de los alemanes. Ahora, en una repetición que desafía la lógica a fines de 1941, los británicos habían enviado nuevamente fuera de África tropas más veteranas para apuntalar la posición colapsada de Gran Bretaña en el Lejano Oriente, que se estaba recuperando de una serie de golpes de martillo japoneses. Para ambas partes, al parecer, siempre había un lugar más importante que África.

    La segunda ofensiva de Rommel dio sus frutos rápidamente. Una vez más, una unidad verde, la 1ª División Blindada, se interpuso en su camino. El golpe de apertura de Rommel & # 8217 lo hizo nudos. Un grupo de trabajo del tamaño de un regimiento, el Grupo Marcks, rodeó su flanco derecho cerca de la costa, mientras que la masa de Afrika Korps giraba alrededor de la izquierda. Tener panzers alemanes merodeando en la parte trasera fue suficiente para hacer retroceder al 1.º Blindado. En las próximas dos semanas, Rommel reconquistó Cyrenaica. Fue incluso más fácil que la primera vez, quizás la mayor incursión de húsares de todos los tiempos. Esta fue una lucha de baja intensidad de los Kampfgruppe variedad, sin una división completamente formada a la vista. Incluyó pocas batallas y generó bajas mínimas, y el 6 de febrero, Rommel estaba en la línea de Gazala, justo al este del bulto de Cyrenaican y 35 millas al oeste de Tobruk.

    Aquí, el hipermovimiento de la guerra del desierto se detuvo. Ambos bandos se habían desperdiciado corriendo de un lado a otro y eran, por el momento, incapaces de seguir actuando. Durante casi cuatro meses, los oponentes se sentaron, se concentraron y se miraron con el ceño fruncido. La posición de Gazala llegó a tener todas las señas de identidad de la stellungskrieg, o guerra estática: trincheras y fosos para rifles, alambre de púas y nidos de ametralladoras. Para los británicos, las & # 8220boxes & # 8221 densas, concentraciones de 360 ​​grados de obstáculos de tanques y minas, llegaron a dominar el frente, con los espacios entre ellos protegidos por grandes & # 8220minis marismas & # 8221.

    En la línea de Gazala, sin embargo, Rommel finalmente obtendría una victoria real, no el ir y venir sin sentido del & # 8220 sorteo bengazi & # 8221. El 26 de mayo de 1942, Panzerarmee Afrika pasó a la ofensiva, un asalto frontal de la Divisiones de infantería italianas para inmovilizar a los británicos. Con eso, Rommel llevó a cabo el movimiento más audaz de su carrera, lanzando toda su fuerza mecanizada: cinco divisiones, miles de vehículos y prácticamente todos los tanques del Eje en el orden de batalla, que comprenden un sólido bloque de blindaje de casi 15 millas de lado. —En un extremo profundo corre alrededor del flanco británico. La & # 8220 falange blindada & # 8221 es un cliché de la historia militar, pero esto era real: el XX Cuerpo Motorizado italiano, el Afrika Korps y la 90 División Ligera.

    AL FINAL de su marcha de aproximación, la fuerza masiva estaba encaramada en el flanco izquierdo británico, y la apertura del ataque se acercó tanto al ideal platónico de & # 8220surprise & # 8221 como cualquier operación en la guerra. A las 7 a.m., la falange de Rommel & # 8217 se estrelló contra la caja fortificada en Retma, a unas 40 millas al sur de Gazala y Tobruk. Fue una escena asombrosa. Sentados al sol de una hermosa mañana de mayo, los defensores miraron con curiosidad cómo una nube de polvo aparecía en el horizonte. A estas alturas, todos habían visto patrones climáticos extraños y tormentas surgidas de la nada. Este, sin embargo, de repente se aclaró en algo peor: tanques, tanques y más tanques, vehículos de todas las descripciones, navegando del polvo. Fue, dijo un soldado británico, & # 8220 todo el comando de Rommel & # 8217 en pleno grito directo por nosotros. & # 8221 Lo mismo sucedió en ambos flancos de Retma. Al este, cerca de Bir Gubi, se encontraba la 7ª Brigada Motorizada. A la mitad de la unidad se le había dado un merecido descanso y recreación y los hombres estaban nadando en el puerto de Tobruk esa fatídica mañana. Al oeste de Retma, la 3.ª Brigada India fue sorprendida igualmente desprevenida. Su comandante, el general de brigada A. A. E. Filose, comunicó por radio que & # 8220 toda una maldita división acorazada alemana & # 8221 se estaba acercando a él. En realidad, estaba viendo tanques italianos de la División Ariete, pero era temprano en la mañana, así que podemos perdonar a Filose su imprecisión. Ambas brigadas, junto con el palco de Retma, se vieron desbordados en los primeros minutos con muy pocos enfrentamientos. La entrada final en el diario de guerra de la 3.a India fue escalofriante: & # 8220Posiciones completamente invadidas con tanques enemigos en la caja. & # 8221 Luego llegó el turno de la 4.a Brigada Blindada. Esparcido por toda el área de batalla, corrió en ayuda de la 7ª Brigada Motorizada, y fue engullido por la 15ª División Panzer. Luego, la 22ª Brigada Blindada, que intentaba cabalgar en auxilio de la 4ª Brigada Blindada, también se incendió. Al mediodía, el ala izquierda británica estaba hecha jirones.

    Una vez pasado el impacto inicial, sin embargo, el Octavo Ejército se puso manos a la obra y se aprovechó de un equipo subestimado. El tanque M3 Grant (cortesía de U.S. Lend-Lease), a menudo tratado con arrogancia por los historiadores de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, era muy superior a todo lo que el Octavo Ejército había presentado hasta ahora. Claro, era desgarbado y torpe, y sí, realmente presentaba un objetivo monstruoso de 10 pies y 3 pulgadas de alto para el fuego alemán. Sin embargo, en el lado positivo, su grueso blindaje lo hacía impermeable a casi cualquier cosa que no fuera un impacto directo de un cañón antiaéreo de 88 mm. También fue uno de los tanques más fuertemente armados del día, con dos formas de armamento principal: un cañón de 75 mm de cañón corto en un montaje fijo (llamado sponson) en el casco y un cañón de 37 mm en la torreta. A los pocos minutos de la erupción alemana en los flancos británicos, un panzer tras otro estaba siendo perforado a distancias aparentemente imposibles, y pronto el ataque de Rommel # 8217 se detuvo.

    Al final del primer día, los panzers se habían formado en un laager detrás de las líneas británicas, y durante los días siguientes, Rommel hizo que lanzaran un ataque hacia atrás, es decir, hacia sus propias posiciones de partida, para abrirse una línea de suministro. Fue una maravillosa improvisación, y suficiente para desconcertar a los británicos, que preferían luchar en un frente a la vez en lugar de tres. Pronto los panzers estallaron, luchando en una acción de remolino alrededor de la característica del terreno anodino conocido como Knightsbridge y conduciendo en Tobruk. Unos días antes, el 2.º sudafricano había ocupado una posición en la zona de retaguardia, pero de repente estaba defendiendo el frente. El año pasado, & # 8217s & # 8220fortress & # 8221 ahora estaba prácticamente indefenso, y los panzers lo invadieron en un solo día, cortando en pedazos a la desafortunada 2da División Sudafricana. El joven comandante de división, el mayor general Hendrik B. Klopper, transmitió por radio la subestimación del siglo: & # 8220Situación no controlada & # 8221.

    Ciertamente no fue & # 8217t. La secuencia Gazala-Tobruk fue la mayor victoria de la carrera de Rommel, no solo un triunfo a nivel táctico, sino una victoria a nivel operativo, una victoria que incluso el general Halder podría amar. Llámelo Rommel & # 8217s Rule # 1, que sigue siendo una receta para el éxito: & # 8220Asegúrese de irrumpir en la retaguardia de su oponente & # 8217 con todo un ejército panzer en los primeros momentos de la batalla. & # 8221 La campaña había sido un severo shock para los Aliados. Winston Churchill escuchó las malas noticias mientras conferenciaba con el presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt en Washington, una humillación que sacudió al primer ministro hasta la médula. Inmediatamente después de la caída de Singapur ante los japoneses, la pérdida de Tobruk parecía presagiar el colapso del Imperio Británico.

    INCLUSO AQUÍ, sin embargo, seamos honestos. Destruir al Octavo Ejército en Gazala y tomar decenas de miles de prisioneros en Tobruk hizo poco para resolver el problema estratégico de Rommel. A menos que los británicos fueran destruidos por completo, siempre podrían reforzar a un nivel que el Eje no podría igualar. Muchos analistas posteriores argumentan que el Panzerarmee debería haberse detenido en este punto, esperar hasta que se lanzara algún tipo de operación combinada aerotransportada-naval contra Malta para mejorar la logística, y solo entonces actuó. Tales argumentos ignoran la dinámica de la batalla del desierto, sin embargo, el imperativo de mantener la moral manteniendo en movimiento un ejército victorioso y, sobre todo, la personalidad de Rommel.

    ¿Pausa? ¿Detener? ¿Esperar? Cualquiera que esperara que Rommel bajara el acelerador claramente no había estado prestando atención. En cambio, el Panzerarmee cruzó la frontera hacia Egipto prácticamente sin preparación. Para Rommel, para sus hombres, e incluso para Hitler y Mussolini, debe haber parecido como si una gran victoria estuviera en el horizonte siguiente: El Cairo, Alejandría, el Canal de Suez, el propio Imperio Británico.

    En realidad, hoy es posible ver lo que el gran filósofo de la guerra prusiano Karl von Clausewitz llamó una vez el & # 8220punto de culminación & # 8221: ese momento de cada campaña en el que la ofensiva comienza a perder fuerza, se agota y finalmente se detiene. El Panzerarmee estaba agotado, su equipo estaba desgastado y necesitaba urgentemente una reparación. Las tiendas y los vehículos británicos capturados se habían convertido en su alma, en particular las camionetas Ford canadienses, pero el Afrika Korps ya no incautaba esos vehículos con regularidad. La mano de obra se estaba derrumbando. Una escasez crónica de agua potable había puesto a miles de soldados en la lista de enfermos. El coronel Siegfried Westphal, el jefe de operaciones de Panzerarmee, estaba amarillo de ictericia. El jefe de inteligencia del ejército, el coronel Friedrich Wilhelm von Mellenthin, se estaba consumiendo por la disentería amebiana. Rommel tenía un toque de ambas enfermedades, así como un problema grave de presión arterial (sin duda inducido por el estrés) y una sinusitis crónica y molesta.

    Si bien sería fácil ver todas estas enfermedades como simple mala suerte, eran, de hecho, el precio que Rommel y todos los demás estaban pagando por luchar en una campaña expedicionaria en el extranjero con recursos inadecuados.

    Lo mismo podría decirse del resto de la empresa. El Panzerarmee hizo un intento ad hoc de romper el cuello de botella británico en El Alamein en julio. Falló, llegando al dolor de las defensas británicas en Ruweisat Ridge, pero hizo un segundo intento, más deliberado, en agosto. Después de un avance inicial, se estrelló contra las fuertes defensas británicas en Alam Halfa Ridge y también fracasó. Después de otra larga pausa, comenzó una tercera batalla de El Alamein a fines de octubre.

    Esta vez, sin embargo, fueron los británicos bien provistos en el ataque, y lograron aplastar a través del Panzerarmee y hacer retroceder a Rommel y compañía, no cientos de millas, sino más de mil, fuera del desierto por completo y en Túnez. . Todavía quedaba lucha por hacer en África, pero la & # 8220 guerra del desierto & # 8221 había terminado.

    GANÓ & # 8217T SERÁ FÁCIL, pero debemos despojar a esta secuencia operativa del romance y la leyenda en la que está envuelta. En el norte de África, un comandante duro y un puñado de divisiones alemanas que eran insuperables en términos de fuerza de combate (kampfkraft) se enredaron en una campaña para la que no eran adecuados: una que estaba muy lejos, una logística pesada y dependía del suministro naval (una marina extranjera poco confiable, además). Que tuvieran sus éxitos al principio no debería sorprender a nadie, la Wehrmacht todavía estaba invicta contra el ejército británico en este punto de la guerra. El hecho de que eventualmente sucumbieran a largo plazo ante dos imperios mundiales —el británico menguando, el estadounidense apenas comenzando a crecer— tampoco debería sorprender a nadie.

    En Gazala, esos tanques Grant estadounidenses habían sido el margen de supervivencia del Octavo Ejército británico, incluso después del espantoso impacto de la apertura. En & # 8220Third Alamein & # 8221, el general Bernard Law Montgomery encabezó su ofensiva con otra maravilla tecnológica, al menos para los estándares del desierto, el M4 Sherman de EE. UU.

    Analistas posteriores han difamado al Sherman por su desempeño en el teatro europeo, donde fue superado por tanques alemanes más pesados ​​como el Panther y el Tiger I y II, pero esa evaluación habría sorprendido a los frenéticos petroleros alemanes e italianos que se enfrentan al Sherman en El Alamein. La Wehrmacht se jactaría de su kampfkraft hasta el final de la guerra, pero se vería cada vez más desventurado frente al material y la superioridad logística de sus enemigos combinados.

    Durante la guerra, Rommel y Afrika Korps adquirieron una reputación de invencibilidad. Artículo tras artículo en la prensa alemana equiparó a Rommel con los grandes capitanes prusiano-alemanes del pasado. Casi 70 años después de la aplastante derrota alemana en El Alamein, sin embargo, es hora de liberarnos de las garras de la propaganda alemana. A todos nos encantan nuestras leyendas, pero debemos admitir que Rommel y el Afrika Korps estuvieron mucho más cerca de una victoria decisiva en la fantasía que de hecho.

    Robert M. Citino, profesor de historia en la Universidad del Norte de Texas, ha escrito extensamente sobre el ejército alemán. Su libro más reciente es The Wehrmacht Retreats (Universidad de Kansas).

    AHORA SOMOS lo suficientemente inteligentes en las formas de relaciones públicas como para saber que las sensaciones mediáticas surgen a través de la colaboración. La gente quiere fama y los medios de comunicación necesitan gente interesante. Esa connivencia se encuentra en el corazón de la leyenda de Rommel. El propagandista nazi Dr. Josef Goebbels sabía en 1940 que tenía algo especial aquí: Rommel era más que un buen general. Era un rebelde que se negaba a seguir las reglas. Él era personalmente valiente, siempre lideraba desde el frente y se conducía tan duro como sus hombres. Él era real, no solo chisporrotear, sino bistec. Como resultado, ningún otro general alemán recibió tanta cobertura mediática. Los informes de noticias, examinados por el médico en persona, se maravillaron de la buena apariencia de Rommel, su frente alta y suave, una nariz fuerte y enérgica, pómulos prominentes. Durante la campaña de 1940 en Francia y los Países Bajos, los medios de comunicación acuñó un nuevo verbo para arrollar a tu oponente, Rommeln (& # 8220to Rommel & # 8221), y cuando la acción cambió al desierto, afirmaron que rommel era en realidad una antigua palabra árabe para & # 8220sand. & # 8221 (Falso.) De hecho, los nazis incluso hicieron una película sobre esas hazañas de 1940, Victory in the West. Pero el papel de Rommel en todo este bombo a menudo se pasa por alto. Ansiaba la fama, disfrutaba del éxito y le gustaba que los medios lo llamaran héroe. De hecho, su fama fue un tema importante en sus cartas a su esposa, Lu, como en abril de 1941 cuando se jactó de que & # 8220 la prensa de todo el mundo & # 8221 hablaba de sus hazañas en África. Ningún otro general alemán posó con tanta voluntad para tantas fotografías, siempre en una posición de mando, de pie en la torreta & # 8220 desabotonada & # 8221 de un tanque, o apuntando al horizonte lejano. Rommel tenía un funcionario del ministerio de propaganda alemán en su propio personal en África, el teniente Alfred Berndt, quien dirigía fotógrafos, sugería poses para Rommel y alimentaba con prosa heroica las revistas y el ministerio. Ningún otro general alemán celebró su propia conferencia de prensa, como Rommel acordó hacer a principios de octubre de 1942. Al entrar en la sala frente a la prensa internacional, colocó la mano en la manija de la puerta y declaró: & # 8220Hoy estamos a 100 kilómetros de Alejandría y El Cairo y tener las puertas de Egipto en la mano. & # 8221 ¿Y esa película de 1941, Victoria en Occidente? No se trataba sólo de Rommel. Protagonizó y de hecho ayudó a dirigirlo. Él es el centro de atención, avanza sin descanso, atraviesa las defensas francesas y toma hordas de prisioneros. (Si alguna vez lo ve, observe el realismo de esas escenas: está mirando prisioneros de guerra reales, unidades senegalesas de África occidental). Justo después de que Hitler lo convocara y lo asignara a África en 1941, Rommel les dijo a algunos asociados que soon they’d all be watching a film called Victory in Africa. No iba a ser. But in his relationship with the media, his “almost American sense of public relations,” as one biographer put it, he was exactly what Goebbels once called him: a truly modern general. R.C


    Implicated in 1944 July Plot and Death

    On D-Day—June 6, 1944�,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy, and invading forces eventually reached 1 million. After the Allied invasion and the resulting push across France, Rommel knew that Germany would lose the war and discussed surrendering with other officers.

    After the 1944 July Plot𠅊n assassination attempt against Hitler that occurred on July 20, 1944—Rommel&aposs contact with the conspirators was revealed, implicating him in the plot to overthrow Hitler. Rommel was then offered the option of taking his own life to avoid a public trial and protect his family.

    On October 14, 1944, German officers took Rommel from his home to a remote location. There he took his own life by biting into a cyanide capsule. He was 52 years old. Rommel was given a full military burial.


    Erwin Rommel

    Erwin Johannes Rommel was born in 1891 and he joined the German Army as a cadet in 1910.

    During World War I he served as an infantry lieutenant with the German Army in Italy, Romania and France.

    For his bravery in action during the Battle of Caporetto he was awarded the highest decoration bestowed by the forces of Imperial Germany, the ‘Order of the Pour le Merite’ — the Blue Max.

    In the years between the world wars, Rommel served as instructor at the Infantry School at Dresden and later served as Commander of the German War Academy. It was during this period that he wrote "Infantry Attacks" ("Infanterie Greift an"). Though based on his personal experiences, the book became a seminal work and was incorporated into the training of military cadets and junior officers.

    During the rise of the 3rd Reich, Rommel found himself singled out to command Hitler’s personal bodyguard. He commanded the 7th Panzer Division as the German blitzkrieg rolled over France and for his tactical prowess of massing forces of combined armor and infantry was sent to command the forces in the African theater. There he earned the nickname “the Desert Fox.” Rommel’s famous goggles, which he sported in all of his photographs, were actually the pair taken from British General Richard O’Connor when he was captured in April 1941, and not German Army issue. As commander of the Afrika Corps, his unorthodox tactics and his grasp of strategy sent the British army staggering and nearly drove the British out of Egypt and put the British empire's lifeline, the Suez Canal in the hands of the 3rd Reich.

    Rommel’s luck ran out, however, as well as his supply lines on October 23, 1942 at the Battle of El Alamain. As Rommel struggled to regain his momentum, British forces under Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery slammed into the stalled Afrika Corps with massed ground attacks and constant harassment from the air. The Afrika Corps found itself trapped with its back to the sea. Rommel fought rearguard actions through Benghazi, Tripoli and finally to the Mareth Line in Southern Tunisia. Even his eleventh hour victory at the Kasserine Pass in February 1943 could not stem the Allied onslaught and Rommel was recalled from the African theater in March 1943 to Italy by Hitler. The Afrika Corps was abandoned in Tunisia and close to 275,000 Axis soldiers were forced to capitulate. This blow, following so closely on the heels of the German defeat at Stalingrad sowed the seed of discontent in Rommel with the German High Command (OKW) and Hitler’s handling of the war.

    Following a brief posting to Italy, Rommel took command of the 7th German Army in Brittany and Normandy, and began an analysis and strengthening of the already formidable fortifications of the Atlantic Wall of Hitler’s Fortress Europe. With the inevitable Allied invasion of Western Europe looming, Rommel hoped to hold any invading force to the beach and use his armor and mechanized infantry as a mobile reserve to quickly stem any Allied push and prevent a breakthrough to the hedge country of France.

    When the D-Day invasion began, Rommel was back in Germany on leave for his wife’s birthday. Unable to stem the invading tide and with the OKW reluctant to commit its infantry and panzer reserves to the Normandy invasion sites, the German Army lost valuable time as it tried to ascertain whether the landings at Normandy were the main Allied push or merely a feint. With news of the invasion, Rommel rushed back to the headquarters of Army Group B by late evening of June 6th and attempted to push the German counterattack.

    Realizing the severity of the situation, Rommel went directly to Hitler in the hopes of convincing the Furher that the situation in Normandy was untenable and to have the German army pull back to defensive positions on the Seine. Hitler's outright rejection of any strategic retreat affected Rommel so greatly that he discussed with other high-ranking German officers the idea of opening secret talks with the Allies. They believed that by removing Hitler from power a negotiated truce might be possible. On July 16, 1944, these hopes were dashed when Rommel was severely wounded when his staff car was strafed by Allied aircraft. His injuries were severe enough to remove him from command of the forces in Normandy. On July 20, 1944, a bomb detonated during a conference between Hitler and his top advisors in his headquarters on the Eastern Prussia, the "Wolfschanze." Though the bomb failed to kill Hitler, Rommel, along with some of the highest officers in the German military, was implicated for his part in the assassination attempt. Facing a propaganda nightmare Hitler himself ordered Rommel to commit suicide.

    With Hitler using the safety of Rommel’s family as leverage, Rommel poisoned himself on Oct. 14, 1944, while publicly he was said to have died in an automobile accident. Not able to afford to lose Rommel's prestige before the German people Hitler had Rommel buried with full military honors and Rommel's complicity in the ‘20th of July Plot’ was never made public.


    Rommel's letter to his wife from November 16, 1942 - History

    ESPIONAGE AND THE MANHATTAN PROJECT
    (1940-1945)
    Events > Bringing It All Together, 1942-1945

    Security was a way of life for the Manhattan Project. The goal was to keep the entire atomic bomb program secret from Germany and Japan. In this, Manhattan Project security officials succeeded. They also sought, however, to keep word of the atomic bomb from reaching the Soviet Union. Although an ally of Britain and the United States in the war against Germany, the Soviet Union remained a repressive dictatorship and a potential future enemy. Here, security officials were less successful. Soviet spies penetrated the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and several other locations, sending back to Russia critical information that helped speed the development of the Soviet bomb.

    The theoretical possibility of developing an atomic bomb was not a secret. Fission had been discovered in Berlin, and word of the breakthrough had spread quickly around the world. The scientific basis for a sustained, or even explosive, chain reaction was now clear to any well-versed research physicist. Most physicists initially may have thought an explosive chain reaction unlikely, but the possibility could not be entirely discounted.

    Con an atomic bomb program of its own, Germany attempted to build a large spy network within the United States. Most German spies were quickly caught, however, and none penetrated the veil of secrecy surrounding the Manhattan Project. German physicists heard rumors and suspected an atomic bomb project was underway in Britain, the United States, or both, but that was all. Japan also had a modest atomic research program. Rumors of the Manhattan Project reached Japan as well, but, as with Germany, no Japanese spies penetrated the Manhattan Project.

    The Soviet Union proved more adept at espionage, primarily because it was able to play on the ideological sympathies of a significant number of Americans and British as well as foreign migr s. Soviet intelligence services devoted a tremendous amount of resources into spying on the United States and Britain. In the United States alone, hundreds of Americans provided secret information to the Soviet Union, and the quality of Soviet sources in Britain was even better. (In contrast, during the war neither the American nor the British secret services had a single agent in Moscow.) The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) had thousands of members, a disproportionate number of whom were highly educated and likely to work in sensitive wartime industries. Many physicists were members of the CPUSA before the war. This does not mean that every member of the CPUSA was willing to supply secret information to the Soviet Union, but some were and some did.

    Soviet intelligence first learned of Anglo-American talk of an atomic bomb program in September 1941, almost a year before the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) was created. The information likely came from John Cairncross, a member of the infamous "Cambridge Five" spies in Britain. (Cairncross served as a private secretary for a British government official, Lord Hankey, who was privy to some British discussions of the MAUD Report.) Another of the "Cambridge Five," Donald Maclean (left), also sent word of the potential for an atomic bomb to his Soviet handlers around the same time. (Maclean was a key Soviet agent. In 1947 and 1948, he served as a British liaison with the MED's successor, the Atomic Energy Commission.) At the same time, the sudden drop in fission-related publications emerging from Britain and the United States caught the attention of Georgii Flerov, a young Soviet physicist, who in April 1942 wrote directly to Josef Stalin to warn him of the danger.

    Soviet intelligence soon recognized the importance of the subject and gave it the appropriate codename: ENORMOZ ("enormous"). Soviet intelligence headquarters in Moscow pressured their various American residencies to develop sources within the Manhattan Project. Many of these early attempts at recruiting spies were detected and foiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Manhattan Project counterintelligence officials. In February 1943, they learned of Soviet attempts to contact physicists conducting related work at the "Rad Lab" at the Universidad de California, Berkeley. The scientists in question were placed under surveillance and, when possible, drafted into the military so that they could be assigned away from sensitive subjects. Another scientist at the Rad Lab caught passing information to the Soviet Union in 1944 was immediately discharged. In early 1944, the FBI also learned of several "Met Lab" employees suspected of divulging secret information to their Soviet handlers. The employees were immediately dismissed. While these Soviet attempts at espionage were discovered and thwarted, other Soviet spies went undetected.

    Of the Soviet spies not caught during the war, one of the most valuable was the British physicist Klaus Fuchs. Fuchs first offered his services to Soviet intelligence in late 1941. Soon thereafter, he began passing information regarding British atomic research. Soviet intelligence lost contact with him in early 1944 but eventually found out that Fuchs had been reassigned to the bomb research and development laboratory at Los Alamos as part of the newly-arrived contingent of British scientists. Fuchs worked in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos, and from there he passed to his Soviet handlers detailed information regarding atomic weapons design. Returning home to begin work on the British atomic program in 1946, he continued to pass secret information to the Soviet Union intermittently until he was finally caught (largely due to VENONA), and in January 1950 he confessed everything.

    For over four decades, Klaus Fuchs was thought to be the only spy who was a physicist at Los Alamos. In the mid-1990s, release of the VENONA intercepts revealed an alleged second scientist-spy: Theodore Hall. Like Fuchs, a long-time communist who volunteered his services, Hall made contact with Soviet intelligence in November 1944 while at Los Alamos. Although not as detailed or voluminous as that provided by Fuchs, the data supplied by Hall on implosion and other aspects of atomic weapons design served as an important supplement and confirmation of Fuchs's material. The FBI learned of Hall's espionage in the early 1950s. Unlike Fuchs, however, under questioning Hall refused to admit anything. The American government was unwilling to expose the VENONA secret in open court. Hall's espionage activities had apparently ended by then, so the matter was quietly dropped.

    The most famous "atomic spies," Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (right), never worked for the Manhattan Project. Julius Rosenberg was an American engineer who by the end of the war had been heavily involved in industrial espionage for years, both as a source himself and as the "ringleader" of a network of like-minded engineers dispersed throughout the country. Julius's wife, the former Ethel Greenglass, was also a devoted communist, as was her brother David. David Greenglass was an Army machinist, and in the summer of 1944 he was briefly assigned to Oak Ridge. After a few weeks, he was transferred to Los Alamos, where he worked on implosion as a member of the Special Engineering Detachment. Using his wife Ruth as the conduit, Greenglass soon began funneling information regarding the atomic bomb to his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, who then turned it over to Soviet intelligence. As Greenglass later explained, "I was young, stupid, and immature, but I was a good Communist."

    In March 1946, Greenglass left the Army. Soviet intelligence maintained contact with him, urging him to enroll at the University of Chicago in order to re-enter atomic research. The NKGB (the People's Commissary for State Security and the predecessor to the KGB) offered to pay his tuition, but Greenglass's application to Chicago was rejected. In 1950, the confession of Klaus Fuchs led the FBI to his handler, Harry Gold, who in turn led the FBI to David Greenglass. When confronted, Greenglass confessed, implicating his wife Ruth and his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg. This was soon confirmed through VENONA intercepts (Rosenberg was codenamed ANTENNA and LIBERAL, Ethel was WASP, Greenglass was BUMBLEBEE and CALIBER, and his wife Ruth was OSA). The "rolling up" of the espionage ring stopped, however, with the Rosenbergs. Julius and Ethel (who knew of her husband's activities and at times assisted him) both maintained their innocence and refused to cooperate with authorities in order to lessen their sentences. Because of his cooperation, Greenglass received only 15 years, and his wife, Ruth, was never formally charged. The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death. Authorities apparently hoped to use the death sentences as leverage to get them to name names, but the Rosenbergs maintained their silence. Despite a worldwide campaign for clemency, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953.

    At least two other scientists associated with the Manhattan Project also served as spies for Soviet Union: Allan Nunn May and Bruno Pontecorvo. Another British physicist who came over with James Chadwick in 1943, May, unlike his colleague Klaus Fuchs, was not assigned to Los Alamos. Instead, he was chosen to assist in the Canadian effort to construct a heavy water-moderated reactor at Chalk River, Ontario. During 1944, May visited the Met Lab several times. Once during these visits, he even met Leslie Groves. In February 1945, May passed what he had learned to Soviet intelligence. His colleague at Chalk River, Bruno Pontecorvo, also served as a spy. Pontecorvo was a former prot g of Enrico Fermi. In 1936, Pontecorvo, who was Jewish, fled fascist Italy for France. When France fell to the invading Nazi armies in 1940, Pontecorvo was again forced to flee fascism. He was invited to join British atomic research, and by 1943 he found himself assigned to the Chalk River facility. Pontecorvo established contact with Soviet intelligence and began passing them information about the atomic activities there. He continued his dual life as a physicist and a spy in Canada until 1949 when he was promoted and moved back to Britain to join the atomic research being conducted there. Following the arrest of Klaus Fuchs, Pontecorvo's Soviet handlers became worried that he would be exposed, and in 1950 Pontecorvo defected with his family to the Soviet Union. Pontecorvo continued his work as a physicist in the Soviet Union, eventually receiving two Orders of Lenin for his efforts, all the while continuing to deny that he had been a spy during his years in Canada and Britain.

    A number of spies within the Manhattan Project have never been positively identified. Most are only known by their codenames, as revealed in the VENONA decrypts. One source, an engineer or scientist who was given the codename FOGEL (later changed to PERSEUS), apparently worked on the fringes of the Manhattan Project for several years, passing along what information he could. Soviet documents state that he was offered employment at Los Alamos, but, to the regret of his handlers, he turned it down for family reasons. Another source, a physicist codenamed MAR, first began supplying information to the Soviet Union in 1943. In October of that year, he was transferred to the Hanford Engineer Works. In another case, a stranger one day in the summer of 1944 showed up unannounced at the Soviet Consulate in New York, dropped off a package, and quickly left. The package was later found to contain numerous secret documents relating to the Manhattan Project. Soviet intelligence attempted to find out who the deliverer of the package was so that they could recruit him. They never could, however, determine his identity. An Englishman codenamed ERIC also provided details of atomic research in 1943, as did an American source codenamed QUANTUM, who provided secret information relating to gaseous diffusion in the summer of 1943. Who QUANTUM was or what became of him after the summer of 1943 remains a mystery.

    Few aspects of the Manhattan Project remained secret from the Soviet Union for long. Given the size of the pre-existing Soviet espionage network within the United States and the number of Americans who were sympathetic to communism or even members of the CPUSA themselves, it seems highly unlikely in retrospect that penetrations of the Manhattan Project could have been prevented. In most cases, the individuals who chose to provide information to the Soviet Union did so for ideological reasons, not for money. They were usually volunteers who approached Soviet intelligence themselves. Further, in most cases, they were not aware that anyone else had chosen to do the same thing. (Fuchs, Greenglass, and Hall were all at Los Alamos at the same time, yet none of them knew of the espionage activities of the other two.)

    Soviet espionage directed at the Manhattan Project probably hastened by at least 12-18 months the Soviet acquisition of an atomic bomb. When the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test on August 29, 1949 (left), the device they used was virtually identical in design to the one that had been tested at Trinidad four years previously.

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    The text for this page is original to the Department of Energy's Office of History and Heritage Resources. The main sources for this entry were:

    • Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999)
    • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999)
    • David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994)
    • Jeffrey T. Richelson, A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) and
    • Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America -- the Stalin Era (New York: Random House, 1999).

    For a summary of the failure of German espionage in the United States (and in Britain), see Richelson, Century of Spies, 139-144.

    On the scope of Soviet espionage in the United States in general, see Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield Haynes and Klehr, Venona and Weinstein and Vassiliev, Haunted Wood.

    On Cairncross as the source of the first word on atomic energy to reach Moscow, see Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 82-83 Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield, 114 and Weinstein and Vassiliev, Haunted Wood, 172. Cairncross may have passed word as early as October 1940 see Richelson, Century of Spies, 136. In 1993, Cairncross denied to the Schecters ever having passed this information (Jerrold and Leona Schecter, Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History (Washington: Brassey's, 2002), 348 (note 5)). On Maclean passing word of the atomic bomb program in the fall of 1941, see Richelson, Century of Spies, 137. On Maclean in general, including his work with the AEC, see Haynes and Klehr, Venona, 52-55. On the Flerov letter, see Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 76-79.

    On the name "ENORMOZ," see Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield, 118. For those Soviet intelligence operations that were detected and stopped, see Vincent C. Jones, Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb, United States Army in World War II (Washington: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1988), 263-266, and Haynes and Klehr, Venona, 325-326.

    For the sources consulted regarding Klaus Fuchs y Theodore Hall, see the notes for their separate entries (Fuchs' notes Hall's notes).

    The information on the Rosenbergs and David Greenglass is from Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield, 128 Haynes and Klehr, Venona, 295-303, 307-311 and Weinstein and Vassiliev, Haunted Wood, 198-202, 205-216, 221-222, 327-334.

    The information on May is from Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 105. On Pontecorvo, see Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), 317-318, 379.

    On FOGEL/PERSEUS, see Weinstein and Vassiliev, Haunted Wood, 190-195, and Haynes and Klehr, Venona, 16, 313-314. Before Theodore Hall was identified, FOGEL/PERSEUS was sometimes mistakenly thought to be the source that turned out to be Hall. On MAR, see Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield, 117. On the strange "walk-in" in New York, see Weinstein and Vassiliev, Haunted Wood, 193. On ERIC, see ibid., 181-182, and on QUANTUM, see Haynes and Klehr, Venona, 311-313.

    For estimates of how many years Soviet espionage sped up their atomic weapons program, see Andrew and Mitrokhin, Sword and Shield, 132, and Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 222.


    The Boy Who Became a World War II Veteran at 13 Years Old

    With powerful engines, extensive firepower and heavy armor, the newly christened battleship USS South Dakota steamed out of Philadelphia in August of 1942 spoiling for a fight. The crew was made up of “green boys”—new recruits who enlisted after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor—who had no qualms about either their destination or the action they were likely to see. Brash and confident, the crew couldn’t get through the Panama Canal fast enough, and their captain, Thomas Gatch, made no secret of the grudge he bore against the Japanese. “No ship more eager to fight ever entered the Pacific,” one naval historian wrote.

    De esta historia

    Video: Archival Footage of D-Day

    In less than four months, the Dakota del Sur would limp back to port in New York for repairs to extensive damage suffered in some of World War II’s most ferocious battles at sea. The ship would become one of the most decorated warships in U.S. Navy history and acquire a new moniker to reflect the secrets it carried. The Japanese, it turned out, were convinced the vessel had been destroyed at sea, and the Navy was only too happy to keep the mystery alive—stripping the Dakota del Sur of identifying markings and avoiding any mention of it in communications and even sailors’ diaries. When newspapers later reported on the ship’s remarkable accomplishments in the Pacific Theater, they referred to it simply as “Battleship X.”

    Calvin Graham, the USS South Dakota‘s 12-year-old gunner, in 1942. Photo: Wikipedia

    That the vessel was not resting at the bottom of the Pacific was just one of the secrets Battleship X carried through day after day of hellish war at sea. Aboard was a gunner from Texas who would soon become the nation’s youngest decorated war hero. Calvin Graham, the fresh-faced seaman who had set off for battle from the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the summer of 1942, was only 12 years old.

    Graham was just 11 and in the sixth grade in Crockett, Texas, when he hatched his plan to lie about his age and join the Navy. One of seven children living at home with an abusive stepfather, he and an older brother moved into a cheap rooming house, and Calvin supported himself by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams on weekends and after school. Even though he moved out, his mother would occasionally visit—sometimes to simply sign his report cards at the end of a semester.  The country was at war, however, and being around newspapers afforded the boy the opportunity to keep up on events overseas.

    “I didn’t like Hitler to start with,” Graham later told a reporter. When he learned that some of his cousins had died in battles, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to fight. “In those days, you could join up at 16 with your parents’ consent, but they preferred 17,” Graham later said. But he had no intention of waiting five more years. He began to shave at age 11, hoping it would somehow make him look older when he met with military recruiters.  Then he lined up with some buddies (who forged his mother’s signature and stole a notary stamp from a local hotel) and waited to enlist.

    At 5-foot-2 and just 125 pounds, Graham dressed in an older brother’s clothes and fedora and practiced “talking deep.” What worried him most was not that an enlistment officer would spot the forged signature. It was the dentist who would peer into the mouths of potential recruits. “I knew he’d know how young I was by my teeth,” Graham recalled. He lined up behind a couple of guys he knew who were already 14 or 15, and “when the dentist kept saying I was 12, I said I was 17.”  At last, Graham played his ace, telling the dentist that he knew for a fact that the boys in front of him weren’t 17 yet, and the dentist had let them through. “Finally,” Graham recalled, “he said he didn’t have time to mess with me and he let me go.” Graham maintained that the Navy knew he and the others on line that day were underage, “but we were losing the war then, so they took six of us.”

    It wasn’t uncommon for boys to lie about their age in order to serve. Ray Jackson, who joined the Marines at 16 during World War II, founded the group Veterans of Underage Military Service in 1991, and it listed more than 1,200 active members, including 26 women.  “Some of these guys came from large families and there wasn’t enough food to go around, and this was a way out,” Jackson told a reporter. “Others just had family problems and wanted to get away.”

    Calvin Graham told his mother he was going to visit relatives. Instead, he dropped out of the seventh grade and shipped off to San Diego for basic training.  There, he said, the drill instructors were aware of the underage recruits and often made them run extra miles and lug heavier packs.

    Just months after her christening in 1942, the USS South Dakota was attacked relentlessly in the Pacific. Photo: Wikipedia

    Para cuando el USS South Dakota made it to the Pacific, it had become part of a task force alongside the legendary carrier USS Enterprise (the “Big E”). By early October 1942, the two ships, along with their escorting cruisers and destroyers, raced to the South Pacific to engage in the fierce fighting in the battle for Guadalcanal. After they reached the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, the Japanese quickly set their sights on the carrier and launched an air attack that easily penetrated the Enterprise’s own air patrol. El portador USS Hornet was repeatedly torpedoed and sank off Santa Cruz, but the Dakota del Sur managed to protect Empresa, destroying 26 enemy planes with a barrage from its antiaircraft guns.

    Standing on the bridge, Captain Gatch watched as a 500-pound bomb struck the South Dakota’s main gun turret. The explosion injured 50 men, including the skipper, and killed one. The ship’s armor was so thick, many of the crew were unaware they’d been hit.  But word quickly spread that Gatch had been knocked unconscious. Quick-thinking quartermasters managed to save the captain’s life—his jugular vein had been severed, and the ligaments in his arms suffered permanent damage—but some onboard were aghast that he didn’t hit the deck when he saw the bomb coming. “I consider it beneath the dignity of a captain of an American battleship to flop for a Japanese bomb,” Gatch later said.

    The ship’s young crew continued to fire at anything in the air, including American bombers that were low on fuel and trying to land on the Empresa. los Dakota del Sur was quickly getting a reputation for being wild-eyed and quick to shoot, and Navy pilots were warned not to fly anywhere near it. los Dakota del Sur was fully repaired at Pearl Harbor, and Captain Gatch returned to his ship, wearing a sling and bandages. Seaman Graham quietly became a teenager, turning 13 on November 6, just as Japanese naval forces began shelling an American airfield on Guadalcanal Island. Steaming south with the Empresa, Task Force 64, with the Dakota del Sur and another battleship, the USS Washington, took four American destroyers on a night search for the enemy near Savo Island. There, on November 14, Japanese ships opened fire, sinking or heavily damaging the American destroyers in a four day engagement that became known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

    Later that evening the Dakota del Sur encountered eight Japanese destroyers with deadly accurate 16-inch guns, the Dakota del Sur set fire to three of them. “They never knew what sank ‘em,” Gatch would recall. One Japanese ship set its searchlights on the Dakota del Sur, and the ship took 42 enemy hits, temporarily losing power. Graham was manning his gun when shrapnel tore through his jaw and mouth another hit knocked him down, and he fell through three stories of superstructure. Still, the 13 year-old made it to his feet, dazed and bleeding, and helped pull other crew members to safety while others were thrown by the force of the explosions, their bodies aflame, into the Pacific.

    “I took belts off the dead and made tourniquets for the living and gave them cigarettes and encouraged them all night,” Graham later said.  ”It was a long night. It aged me.” The shrapnel had knocked out his front teeth, and he had flash burns from the hot guns, but he was “fixed up with salve and a coupla stitches,” he recalled. “I didn’t do any complaining because half the ship was dead.  It was a while before they worked on my mouth.” In fact, the ship had casualties of 38 men killed and 60 wounded.

    Regaining power, and after afflicting heavy damage to the Japanese ships, the Dakota del Sur rapidly disappeared in the smoke. Captain Gatch would later remark of his “green” men, “Not one of the ship’s company flinched from his post or showed the least disaffection.” With the Japanese Imperial Navy under the impression that it had sunk the Dakota del Sur, the legend of Battleship X was born.

    After the Japanese Imperial Navy falsely believed it had sunk the South Dakota in November, 1942, the American vessel became known as “Battleship X.” Photo: Wikimedia

    In mid-December, the damaged ship returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for major repairs, where Gatch and his crew were profiled for their heroic deeds in the Pacific. Calvin Graham received a Bronze Star for distinguishing himself in combat, as well as a Purple Heart for his injuries. But he couldn’t bask in glory with his fellow crewmen while their ship was being repaired. Graham’s mother, reportedly having recognized her son in newsreel footage, wrote the Navy, revealing the gunner’s true age.

    Graham returned to Texas and was thrown in a brig at Corpus Christi, Texas, for almost three months.

    Battleship X returned to the Pacific and continued to shoot Japanese planes out of the sky. Graham, meanwhile, managed to get a message out to his sister Pearl, who complained to the newspapers that the Navy was mistreating the “Baby Vet.” The Navy eventually ordered Graham’s release, but not before stripping him of his medals for lying about his age and revoking his disability benefits. He was simply tossed from jail with a suit and a few dollars in his pocket—and no honorable discharge.

    Back in Houston, though, he was treated as a celebrity. Reporters were eager to write his story, and when the war film Bombadier premiered at a local theater, the film’s star, Pat O’Brien, invited Graham to the stage to be saluted by the audience. The attention quickly faded. At age 13, Graham tried to return to school, but he couldn’t keep pace with students his age and quickly dropped out. He married at age 14, became a father the following year, and found work as a welder in a Houston shipyard. Neither his job nor his marriage lasted long. At 17 years old and divorced, and with no service record, Graham was about to be drafted when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He soon broke his back in a fall, for which he received a 20 percent service-connected disability. The only work he could find after that was selling magazine subscriptions.

    When President Jimmy Carter was elected, in 1976, Graham began writing letters, hoping that Carter, “an old Navy man,” might be sympathetic. All Graham had wanted was an honorable discharge so he could get help with his medical and dental expenses. “I had already given up fighting” for the discharge, Graham said at the time. “But then they came along with this discharge program for deserters. I know they had their reasons for doing what they did, but I figure I damn sure deserved more than they did.”

    In 1977, Texas Senators Lloyd Bentsen and John Tower introduced a bill to give Graham his discharge, and in 1978, Carter announced that it had been approved and that Graham’s medals would be restored, with the exception of the Purple Heart.  Ten years later, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation approving disability benefits for Graham.


    The North African Campaign

    Following the breakout at Minqar Qaim in late June 1942, the New Zealand Division fell back to the Alamein Line, where it took part in the first Battle of Alamein. At Ruweisat Ridge on 15 July 1942, and the El Mreir Depression a week later, the New Zealanders seized their objectives after successful night assaults. But on both occasions they were left unsupported by British armoured units, and when German tanks appeared they had no choice but to surrender.

    The inability to get anti-tank and other heavy weapons forward to the New Zealanders contributed to the debacles at Ruweisat and El Mreir. But its main cause was the failure of the British armour to move forward. Faulty orders and a lack of initiative on the part of the exhausted British tank commanders lay at the heart of the problem. The 4th, 5th and 6th (NZ) Brigades suffered heavy casualties in these battles, and several thousand more New Zealanders were captured.

    A stalemate developed on the Alamein Line. Rommel, conscious that a lack of reinforcements and supplies were weakening his position in North Africa, tried to grab the initiative before it was too late. On 30 August 1942 German and Italian forces breached the Alamein minefields and headed south in an attempt to outflank the Allied forces. Deciphered German codes – dubbed ULTRA intelligence by the Allies – allowed the Allies to track Rommel’s intended movements and they pounded his columns with artillery and from the air. Having made little progress and with his tanks short on fuel Rommel fell back to his original positions. This action marked the debut of the 8th Army’s new commander, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery. While he was fortunate to assume command just as conditions began to favour the Allies, Montgomery had more than good luck on his side. He brought a new uncompromising approach to the campaign, immediately indicating that there would be no thought of further retreat.

    Breakthrough at El Alamein

    The New Zealand Division played a key role in the second Battle of El Alamein, which began on 23 October 1942. Its task, along with South African, Australian and British divisions, was to 'break in' through the enemy defences, which were now covered by deep minefields. At 9.40 p.m. the skies around El Alamein lit up as around 900 guns opened fire on known Axis positions. Twenty minutes later the infantry began their assault, advancing forward under a First World War-style creeping barrage. While the New Zealanders seized their objectives, the overall battle did not develop as Montgomery expected. Congestion, poor coordination and cautious leadership prevented Allied armoured units from taking advantage of gains made by the infantry.

    Montgomery planned a new attack – Operation Supercharge – further to the south, which would essentially repeat the process of the initial attack. He looked to the New Zealand Division's experienced headquarters to plan the ‘break in’ component of Supercharge, although the division itself was too weak to provide the necessary punch. Two British brigades, with New Zealand support, would carry out the attack while New Zealand infantry battalions protected their flanks.

    Operation Supercharge began at 1.05 a.m. on 2 November, with the British infantry brigades forcing open a path for British armour to pour through. Having breached the prepared Axis positions, the tanks ran into Rommel’s panzers (German tanks). Both sides incurred heavy losses in the ensuing battle, but by evening the Afrika Korps was facing defeat. Realising his battered armoured units were fast running out of fuel, Rommel decided to withdraw. Despite Hitler ordering the German-Italian troops to ‘stand fast’, by 4 November Axis forces in North Africa were in headlong retreat. Many Italian troops, without adequate transport, were taken prisoner. Rommel’s defeat at El Alamein would prove to be the decisive moment of the North African campaign.

    The Axis position in North Africa was furthered weakened when Anglo-American forces landed in Vichy-French Morocco and Algeria in November 1942. To meet the new threat, Axis forces poured into Tunisia, forming a new army commanded by General Hans-Jurgen von Arnim. The Germans and Italians were now fighting on two fronts.


    Barbara stood by George&aposs side during his presidential campaign

    After entering politics, George spent time in Congress, became ambassador to the United Nations, had a posting in China, and served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming Ronald Reagan&aposs vice president. During George’s successful run for the presidency in 1988, Barbara was at his side, offering humor on the campaign trail and speaking on his behalf at the 1988 Republican National Party Convention.

    The support went both ways. When Barbara suffered from depression in the 1970s, she later recalled, “Night after night George held me weeping in his arms while I tried to explain my feelings."


    Digital Resources: Higuchi Wartime Correspondence

    During World War II, Hiro Higuchi of Hawaiʻi volunteered to serve as one of two chaplains attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Japanese American unit formed in January 1943. Following his enlistment, Higuchi attended the U.S. Army Chaplain School at Harvard University in the fall of 1943. In November 1943, he joined the soldiers of the 442nd RCT for intensive training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In June 1944, Higuchi accompanied the 442nd RCT to Europe, where he served with the unit in Italy and France. Chaplain Hiro Higuchi returned home to Hawaiʻi in December 1945.

    As chaplain of the 442nd RCT’s 2nd Battalion, Higuchi did not engage in battle, though his duties enabled him to experience firsthand the nature of war. He provided comfort and solace to the troops, held religious services on the front lines, transported the wounded and dead from the battlefield, comforted injured soldiers at first aid stations, wrote letters to the families of those killed in action, held memorial services, and performed various administrative duties.

    While serving with the 442nd RCT, Chaplain Higuchi wrote frequent letters to his wife Hisako reassuring her of his safety and documenting his experiences and impressions of the war. His descriptive letters provide insight into the mindset and experiences of the soldiers of the 442nd RCT and the nature of military life in World War II.

    Hisako Higuchi also wrote frequent letters to her husband describing life at home in Pearl City, Oʻahu . She describes the daily activities of family and friends, as well as noteworthy happenings around the island. Her detailed accounts of daily life provide insight into the nature of Hawaiʻi ‘s homefront during the war.

    This website contains a selection of the letters exchanged between Chaplain Hiro Higuchi and his wife Hisako during World War II. The letters are listed in chronological order and are available in PDF format.

    To learn more about the correspondence and other papers of Chaplain Hiro Higuchi, please see the Hiro Higuchi Papers Finding Aid.

    Copyright Disclaimer: Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, their descendants, or the repository if copyright has been signed over, as stipulated by United States copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user to determine any copyright restrictions, obtain written permission, and pay any fees necessary for the reproduction or proposed use of the materials.


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